Jared Leto tried to get Todd Phillips’ ‘Joker’ shut down before it went into production

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I still don’t really care about Todd Phillips’ Joker movie. I know I’m in the minority there – Joker is very successful financially, and Academy voters know that they’re going to have to nominate the film for a bunch of awards too. While critics and filmgoers have concerns about the story/script, everyone seems to agree that Joaquin Phoenix knocked it out of the park, acting-wise. He managed to do something different with this iconic character, which is especially difficult given that before Phoenix stepped in, the most recent Joker portrayal was almost universally loathed. Yes, I’m speaking of Jared Leto’s sad clown Joker in Suicide Squad. As we recently discussed, Jared was in his feelings about all of this because he was loosely promised a stand-alone Joker movie, then the studio basically gave the property to Todd Phillips and Joaquin. It shouldn’t have been a shock to Leto – truly, everyone hated his Joker – but he still fought for his garbage Joker to be the only one, apparently. The Hollywood Reporter did a VERY dishy piece about Leto’s moves behind the scenes to shut it down:

Just how unhappy was Jared Leto over Joker? As Todd Phillips’ dark take on the villain looks likely to gross more than $700 million worldwide, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that Leto’s frustration that Warner Bros. was moving ahead with the Phillips project was so great early on that he tried to throttle the rival Joker in its cradle.

According to sources familiar with Leto’s behavior, when the Oscar-winning actor learned of the Phillips project, he not only complained bitterly to his agents at CAA, who also represent Phillips, but asked his music manager, Irving Azoff, to call the leader of Warners parent company (it’s unclear whether it was Time Warner’s Jeff Bewkes or AT&T’s Randall Stephenson, depending on the timing). The idea was to get Warners to kill the Phillips film. A source in Leto’s camp denies that the actor made this request, and Azoff declined to comment. Azoff and Leto have since parted ways.

Leto had put a lot of effort into his Suicide Squad version of the DC villain, with rotting teeth, bloodshot eyes and slicked-back neon green hair. He spent months getting into character and terrifying his castmates with “gifts” such as a live rat to Harley Quinn actress Margot Robbie, bullets to Deadshot actor Will Smith and a dead pig to the entire cast during rehearsal. It turns out that the studio wasn’t thrilled with these efforts, says a source with knowledge of the situation. And it seems the director wasn’t that pleased with the resulting performance: In the final cut of David Ayer’s ensemble antihero movie, Leto’s Joker got only about 10 minutes of screen time. While promoting the project, Leto — who had been billed as a lead character — spoke to media about how much footage of his Joker had been cut.

“In his defense, it was never really his movie, but his attempt to ‘invent’ a place for himself in it backfired,” says a source involved in the situation.

Meanwhile, Leto’s unhappiness over the Phillips project seems to have helped end an already strained relationship between Leto and CAA. Sources say the actor felt his agents should have told him about the Phillips project earlier and fought harder for his version of Joker. Sources say Leto told his agents that they should stop the rival project, arguing that he wasn’t being treated properly as an Oscar winner (for Dallas Buyers Club). But a person with first-hand knowledge of the situation contends that by then, Leto had burned through four different teams of agents at CAA and there was little love for the actor there. Leto left CAA for rival WME over the summer. A source in Leto’s camp says the rocker-actor had been looking to make a switch and denies that the competing Joker movies factored into his decision.

At this point, sources say Leto’s days as the Joker likely are over. He will not reprise the role for Warners’ upcoming DC movies Birds of Prey (a spinoff centered on Robbie’s Harley Quinn) or in James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad, due out in 2021. Says one person involved in the situation: “How do you play the Joker you established following [Phoenix]? It kind of ends his Joker run.”

[From THR]

“It turns out that the studio wasn’t thrilled with these efforts… And it seems the director wasn’t that pleased with the resulting performance…” LOL, no joke. Seriously, it wasn’t funny or cute or interesting – Jared Leto’s Joker was garbage in a garbage movie. And what is funny is that Warner Bros fell ass-backwards into a success across the board, basically – they didn’t even WANT Todd Phillips’ and Joaquin Phoenix’s Gritty Incel Joker, and now it’s a massive success and they’ll have to spend money on an Oscar campaign. And they managed to push out Jared Leto’s deeply unpopular Joker too. They didn’t mean for any of this to happen! Also: I feel like the tea about Jared Leto being deeply unpopular at CAA is fascinating. That’s not *just* about Joker sh-t. That’s about a lot more.

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60 Responses to “Jared Leto tried to get Todd Phillips’ ‘Joker’ shut down before it went into production”

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  1. Erinn says:

    I don’t really blame him for being pissed off, honestly. But I also don’t blame them for going a different direction. Although, to be fair – they did seem to let Leto run rampant for far too long if they didn’t like the way he was doing things. Unfortunately/Fortunately he need to just shake himself off and move on. It SUCKS, I’m sure he’s genuinely hurt. But that’s the business.

    Remember “The Kill” era Leto/30 Seconds to Mars? God, this emo kid thought he was sooooo cool. As an adult he unintentionally makes me laugh and shake my head at his embarrassing antics.

    • Marie says:

      I still listen to “Kings and Queens” sometimes. I like that song. (hangs head in shame)

    • SM says:

      It just proves how much further in life humility will get you, he got some taste of success in cinema and in music and he allowed it all go to his head. I tried watching some festival performance by him and his band and it felt like he is just there to show of how cool he is rather than enjoy the music. Which is a complete downer for me (not to mention mediocre music). I imagine in film, his Oscar win did the same, he felt like he is above everyone else and that he will strong arm producers and agents into pulling a stop on a project he felt was an embarrassment to him. His method antics did not pay off and were over the top. And now as a result he burned quite a few bridges.

      • Erinn says:

        I think that’s exactly it. I’m sure the music probably mattered a lot to him in the beginning, before he got huge.

        I think he’s the kind of guy who REALLY got into his own hype. And you’re exactly right – some humility would have gotten him so much further. But he’s too self-absorbed to realize that.

    • Steff says:

      Everytime I see something about his sh*tty band, I’m reminded of the time he choked Elijah Wood for saying his band sucks. Look it up.

      I keep wondering when the skeletons will come out for the closet for Jared. He’s one of those folks in Hollywood that hasn’t been publicly outted for sexual misconduct (alleged 🙄).

    • A says:

      He’s still the emo kid who thinks he’s so cool, if the reports about his behaviour on the set of Suicide Squad are to be believed.

  2. Ela says:

    Didn’t watch Suicide Squad. All I remember is Viola Davis having no time for his method actor nonsense. Another reason to love her.

    • Fluffy Donuts says:

      Somehow I missed that when it happened but I just googled it and…WOW. She’s awesome. Thank you for mentioning that.

    • ChillyWilly says:

      Lol, Viola strikes me as someone who does not suffer fools. And Leto is definitely a damn fool.

  3. Marie says:

    One of my favorite things about Leto is TLo’s nickname for him which is Pixie Rocker Jesus. Still makes me chuckle. Anyway, good to know that there were consequences to his “method acting”. He’s an a**.

  4. Sierra says:

    Being unpopular at CAA is a wonderful thing.

    CAA is the main reason Weinstein got away for almost 2 decades.

  5. Arizona says:

    Jared Leto is the worst, and his Joker was shockingly terrible. but I won’t be seeing Joaquin Phoenix’s joker either, because nothing about that story appeals to me. I’ve read enough spoilers to know I’m not going to waste my time.

  6. Lightpurple says:

    What’s being left out of all of this is discussions of his contract, which apparently is a multi-picture deal over a period of years. Many of these contracts have “do not compete clauses,” which would prevent him from working on another franchise for the duration of that contract. If they released him from that, then he needs to shut up and go away. But if they didn’t, the guy has a legitimate gripe – he can’t work on this project and won’t get paid but he also can’t go work for Marvel or any other competing comic book series for the duration of that contract.

    • Rapunzel says:

      The contract stuff is dead on, and I doubt they released him because for a long while there was talk of two Joker films and Joker being in Birds of Prey (iirc). Also, it seems to me like he has a legitimate gripe with how his initial performance was represented in the final product. If lots of footage was cut, I can understand how he’d feel people didn’t get to judge the performance he intended them to.

      That being said, Leto seems like a fairly unpleasant person to deal with.

    • Red32 says:

      But he was cast as Morbius in a Marvel movie due out next year, so that doesn’t seem to be the case.

  7. Veruca_Salty says:

    I respect anyone who says they don’t want to see the movie but you can’t have a truly informed opinion if you don’t see it for yourself. That is all ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    • Lucy says:

      I went to see it last week with zero expectations. I loved it.

    • MrsBanjo says:

      Bullshit. We don’t have to tolerate incel garbage just to have a legitimate complaint about said garbage – especially if we’re in a group constantly harassed and attacked by the real-life types glorified in that film. Full synopses and spoilers exist online.

      • Gobo says:

        Incels are people who loath woman. They feel entitled to sex from woman and hate that this entitlement is withheld, blaming it for all of their problems. This film is not about incels. Dislike it all you want, don’t watch it if you don’t want to. But at least bother to learn what it is about rather than operating under incorrect assumptions.

      • Veruca_Salty says:

        And that’s fine, you don’t have to tolerate incel garbage. Except this movie isn’t about incels. So I stand by my original point.

      • SM says:

        This pretty unfair, MRSBANJO, this how democracies die, when people do not bother to go to original sources and just make pre formed judgements. And fictional story should be separated from reality. To hate a white supremacist is different from making a story about it. It is the same with republicans in the pocket of NRA, who scream about video games in opposition to sensible gun laws. Statistically it has no basis and simply is not true, but reaction like yours make this kind of absurd rationale stick. Now, I did not watch this movie nor will I watch this movie just because this is not my cup of tea, but I am not going around making judgements about it.

      • Bread and Circuses says:

        Oh, ffs, everyone. It’s a comic book movie.

        Of course it’s okay to hate it, even unseen. Because it’s not important.

  8. Mia4s says:

    “ arguing that he wasn’t being treated properly as an Oscar winner“


    Adrien Brody and Cuba Gooding Jr just called. They’re laughing too.

    Oh and congrats on being the worst part of Blade Runner 2040 too Leto! (I’m actually convinced they cut his part there as well. He did a ton of press, and he’s a glorified cameo at most).

  9. Lucy says:

    Can’t say I’m surprised. JL is a bad person, this is no secret.

    • Raina says:

      I know I suck but he’s a Capricorn and particularly the males are usually like this.
      I read a lot of crap about how he treated fans of his music. In his defense, fans of his music do need a bit of talking to 🙂

    • Tiffany :) says:

      He’s made himself into a notorious pain in the ass. He’s gotten away with it for so many years, but it is finally now having consequences.

  10. Margareth says:

    Sorry but Jared Leto looks like a loser.

    • Snazzy says:

      Every time I see a picture of him, I think he looks like a psycho cult leader…

      • Some chick says:

        That Grizzy Adams beard paired with the waxed chest… Lewk does nothing for him. He would look much better with at least a tidy trim (and maybe buttoning his shirt).

        I did like the disembodied head thing, tho.

        But it’s pretty apparent that he is and has long been a terribly entitled H’wood person. They think they can get away with it. You know he has to be one of those “don’t you know who I am?!?!” people.

    • MC2 says:

      Even when he was Jordan Catalano. There was always something off.

  11. naomipaige99 says:

    Love Jared Leto…. He will always be Jordan Catalano to me.

  12. ChillyWilly says:

    Ugh, what a poser. He is a mediocre actor and his band sucks. Not to mention he is a terrible human being. I love that Margot upstaged him and Joaquin out acted him.

  13. Lady says:

    Reading the comments here made me realize, none of us are going to meet each other at Camp Mars next year. (Isn’t that what their Malibu camp is called?)

  14. Cindy says:

    Jared Leto as Joker is flat-out the worst performance I’ve seen in my life. It’s one thing to not be believable, but he was more than just that. His performance was cringey and just annoying to watch. Each time he opened his eyes wide and smiled trying to look crazy I could practically hear the thoughts in his head “look how crazy I look! people will be so disturbed by this performance!”.

  15. Sean says:

    What a whiny man-baby!

  16. HelloSunshine says:

    Meh, the headline should be “Terrible Human Being Throws Hissy Over Business as Usual”

    He’s a man child who likes to take advantage of his younger fans and legit views himself as a Jesus like figure. I have zero sympathy and don’t think anyone else should either

  17. Lala11_7 says:

    Jared been in the business LONG enough to know that once “Suicide Squad” bombed…there was NO WAY he was going to get a solo “Joker” project…

    • smcollins says:

      And Harley Quinn getting her own spinoff, with Joker apparently also being left out of it, was definitely rubbing salt in the wound. But Margot Robbie’s HQ was the best thing about Suicide Squad, while Leto’s Joker was….what it was. That’s how it goes sometimes 🤷🏻‍♀️

  18. Lady D says:

    I hate rats. I know a million people have them as pets and they rave about them, and I say if your pet brings you joy I’m happy for you. If someone ever sent me a rat as a surprise, I would do everything I could to contain the creature without harm, look up what it eats to feed and water it, then I’d go find the prick that sent it to me and shove the cardboard box the rat came in right down his throat. I hate rats, they would have to pull me off him because I guarantee he’d eat that box. There is nothing funny about that stunt, nothing.

    • Some chick says:

      Agreed. Not only that, it’s cruel to the rat! Which probably came from a pet store and then was immediately sent off to the SPCA.

      But I am SO here for seeing you shove a box down Jared Leto’s obnoxious gob. How do these horrible people get away with this shite?!

      (I’m not here to argue pet rats, but I have a few friends who love them. They are great starer pets for kids, since they’re small, easy to care for, surprisingly smart, yet they don’t live for very long, so if the kid loses interest, the parent won’t be saddled with a critter for years on end. And they groom themselves and keep themselves clean. It’s only the street rats that are dirty.)

  19. Jesys says:

    This is so childish lmao. I think we cant blame him for being upset, as trashy as his Joker was, its still understandable. Why try to fuck up someone elses work tho, man? Pathetic. How entitled. Anyways, him, Azoff and CAA deserve all the bad press in the world. And some more.

  20. Ewissa says:

    Dont forget his best buddy is Terry Richardson

    • Jaded says:

      I was just about to comment on that. I’ve seen the photos of them humiliating women. They are utterly nightmarish. He and Terry are horrible human beings and they deserve every shitty thing that happens to them career-wise.

  21. Porsha says:

    We’re all basically going ha ha ha ha ha

  22. Some chick says:

    Um, so… that verizon ad is LITERALLY the worst. The one that wants to know my age for no reason. Which I will not be telling.

    Whenever it reloads I get knocked out of the comment box, or dragged up or down the page, losing my place. Halp? Pretty sure it is that form, because the other ads do not seem to do this.

  23. Ramona Q. says:

    Maybe one reason Leto’s Joker was bad is because the make up is too scary? I can’t even look at him.

  24. ArtHistorian says:

    Jared Leto once tried to pick up a friend of mine. Unfortunately for him (and fortunately for her), she didn’t know who he was and thought he looked terribly unkempt and she didn’t want to go out with a dude who couldn’t wash his hair – and she apparently quite forthright in her rejection of him. He was trying to lay on the charm and she was just “this weird and unwashed dude won’t let me do my job in peace”. She only found out who he was when she saw him in an interview on TV.

  25. Savannah says:

    I mean, he’s not very insightfull, is he?
    He gives of major douchebag vibes and is obviously full of himself. Have you seen the way he talks about himself and his work?

    He’s taking himself waaaay to seriously. And he’s not that good of an actor. That’s all in his head.

  26. He looks like a budget attempt at The Riddler. The original Joker from the Batman tv series, Cesar Romeri, is still my favourite.

  27. Oy vey says:

    I realize this guy is a double-douche, and I kinda get his “commitment” to his work, but that doesn’t need to bleed over into his fellow actors’ performances and right to a civil level of comfort. He bled over the line and let it become more than it was. The best method actors have a hard time letting a character go, but if its years later and you still are married to a character in a comic book movie, that was, for example, aced by Heath Ledger and in addition, played in a great, more comical turn by Nicholson, you are kinda effed up. Move on Mr. Fabulous. You aint that Fabulous.

  28. Oy vey says:

    P.S. It’s always amusing when a tiny man-boy takes himself super seriously and shows his own self loathing by shitting on others. Pffft.